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Monday, October 1, 2018

1941. Application support help on the internet? - Quiken

A friend needed some help with their Quicken program, and decided to call Quiken support. TheyGoogled Quicken Support and found what they thought was official Intuit (Quicken not still owned by Intuit) but in fack called a support group expert that said they were Quicken support. They were just somebody claiming being the Quiken group. Now they have a $400+ credit card bill, missing bank data and a new Gmail email address that the group has hijacked. What can be done to get all of thos fixed?

There are so many lessons to be learned.
1. Make sure you call the official product support, not just the results of a Google search. In a Google search you may see a number of results all saying they are Quicken support, but they are really private support companies. Look at the URL that you are going to go to. If you think you are going to the official Microsoft support site it most likely should have Microsoft,com in the URL. Even if Microsoft is in the URL, it should be the name next to the extension of .COM or .NET. If the URL is this is not a Mircosoft URL.
2. NEVER let them access your computer without absolute confirmation that they are the official company. How do you verify this? That may be difficult. But asking them directly will give you some confidence. Look at the URL.
3. Don't have them "help" you get a new email address. Don't let them see your bank account information. Even if they are your Mother.

Sadly legitimate support companies are hurt by these scams, that often are just interested in gaining access to your computer.

Clark Howard as you have heard on KNCO, strongly recommends that any work you do with banking, you use a separate inexpensive computer that is solely used for banking to minimize any additional risks. Keep this offline for all but minimal use.

1940. Identify missing/corrupt files.

How can I find missing or corrupt files on my Windows computer?

Many computer problems are caused by corrupted system files. If your Windows 10 installation is corrupted, you’ll encounter instability issues and all sorts of other problems. Fortunately, there are few ways to fix corrupted/missing system files on Windows 10.

So if you are experiencing these types of problems you should try some of these tools.

There is a link on the blog to take you to details on these tools, but we will discuss two commands to try before throwing your computer in the trash.

Press the Windows key + X.  This will open the Menu for tools.  Choose Command Prompt (admin).  Then enter SFC /SCANNOW

This will scan the disk and possibly fix corrupted files.  But not all files can be fixed this way.

You can also run a chkdsk /f command that will attempt to fix disk problems.  This command may require you to reboot so it can run the program before Windows starts up.  This can take some time so be prepared to have your computer down for at least 1 hour.

1939. Clean up open Windows

I often have many window open and sometimes I just want to remove the clutter. Any easy way.

When the Windows concept was developed I was always having trouble managing the windows. Sometimes I long for the DOS/OS2 world but that tends to show my age.

All of these windows to sort thru. How many times have you tried to schroll down your window and you actually click another window and now you have to sort thru them to find the window you were working on. Well for me there were many of these experiences.

Windows 10 has a great feature allowing you to create multiple desktops. That feature helps to organize multiple windows but can still create a cluttered desktop.

Windows 7 and all versions since make it easy to un-clutter the desktop by clicking the mouse on the top of the Window and hold the left mouse button down and shake the window. This feature is called Aero Shake. All of the windows in this desktop open will minimize. Leaving the window you are working on the only one open.

If you want all of those windows to be returned to there open position, simply shake the open window again and they will all open.

1938. TeamViewer alternative - FREE?

I use Teamviewer to help people with computer problems. Is there anything in Windows 10 to do this?

Yes there is an application built into Windows 10 that performs the funtions of applications like TeamViewer, and other Remote computer connection products.

It is called Quick Assist. Click on the Windows icon and start typing Quick Assist. At the top of the menu will be that application. Select it.

It will then ask if you want to get or give assistance. You will need a Microsoft email address to Give Assistance.

You will then be given a secrity code. The person that gets assistance will click that option and you will give them the security code.

We suggest you contact a friend and try out the Quick Assist feature.

1937. Apple ID Recovery

I have a problem - I forgot my AppleID password. How do I recover?

The key to recovering your AppleID password is to know the phone number and email address associated with the AppleID when you created it. You also selected some questions and answers.

Apple uses these to help you recover your account. So please remember the email address and phone number. Apple will send to your email address or text to your phone information to use to make them believe you are the real person associated to the AppleID.

Those question/answer methods are also a way to verify you are the correct person. If you have changed your email address or telephone number since you got your AppleID then you may have a problem.

If you have two-factor authentication enabled for your Apple ID, you can reset your password from any trusted iPhone, iPad, Pod touch, or Mac with a password or passcode that's enabled

So remember the email address and telephone number and you will be able to get into your Apple account.

1936. Email application is slow.

Some clients using Outlook and other email applications (not browser access) have really slow response and it takes a long time to open their account. Are there any typical problems to look for?

One of the major problems I see is the amount of mail in their inbox. Having many, many folders is also a problem. I have seen Inboxes with over 10K emails. This will cause a significant slowdown both when first starting Outlook or when synchronizing the send/receive feature.

I have to ask "What in the world do they do with 10K emails in the Inbox?" How do you find things. The first thing the email application does when it starts up it to synchronize the folders. Usually the Inbox is first. So to insure you see all your new mail and it is showing with the Read/UnRead indication, there is a lot of work that needs to take place. Remember you may have accessed your mail via your smartphone or other computer. So the email application must sort through everything to make sure what you have is the correct version of your mail. So it takes a long time especially over the Internet connection.

If you use a browser to access your mail, it only needs to look at the first page of data for the Inbox.

Think of your email as a filing cabinet. You always mark the cabinet drawers so you can make it easier to find things. The same thing applies to email. Sort your mail into folders that make sense to you. Then move the mail to those folders. Minimize the amount of mail that is in your inbox. And organize the mail by folders.

1935. Cell calls over WIFI.

Sometimes I want to make a phone call but don't have much of a cell signal. I know this generally doesn't happen as much in big cities, but out here in the woods, it's a constant problem. I do generally have a decent wifi signal. Is it possible to use that connection to make a phone call?

This is definitely a concern in our local area. I know Verizon has the best coverage here. I'm using Tmobile and although they've definitely improved their coverage there are places where I just don't have many bars.

On the other hand most places I go have WIFI and if I want to make a call Tmobile makes this easy. There's a setting on my phone I can select which allows me to place calls over WIFI. I believe all of the major carriers now support this feature using Wi-Fi to make your calls. Generally provides just as good or better coverage than you get using the cellular signal and what's more if you have a limited plan. and there aren't many of these left, but if you do have a limited plan that limits the number of minutes you get on your calls you won't be using any of those minutes while you're making a WIFI call. 

You definitely can make calls over WIFI it's just a matter of turning the feature on your phone. Once you do that you can make calls even where you don't have a cellular signal.

1934. Hide email until later.

I like to keep my email inbox tidy. Sometimes, I'll get an email that I just don't want to deal with until later; maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. Is there some way to hide an email, and have it reappear as a new email at a later date?

I do this all the time. This feature is generally called "snooze". That is you're causing an email to be "snoozed" until a later date or time.

I use MacMail and there's an add-in for MacMail called Mail Butler that I like a lot and it has a snooze feature built in. GMail recently added this feature for free for all of its users as long as you use email in a web browser. 

Snoozing allows you to take an email hide it until a later date or time and then have it reappear in your inbox as if it was a new email at that time so if I get an email on Thursday that I want to deal with on Monday but I don't want sitting in my inbox all that time I can right click on it choose to snooze and have it come back at a date and time that I select.

Not all mail providers support this you can do this sort of thing in Outlook for example but it requires a lot of effort. On the other hand if you use Gmail you have this feature for free. You may have to look up how to do it, but it's very easy. If you're using MacMail you can look at a feature called Boomerang or Mail Butler. both add-ins for MacMail. To make this possible look up snooze for your email provider or email client and see if the feature is available. I use a lot and like it.

1933. Wireless modem router name and security.

When my ISP installed my wireless router and modem, they set up the wireless network name and password. When friends come over and want to use my wireless network, I always have to find the information to give them, and it's a lot of effort. Can I change the network name and password?

Although the various ISP'S. like AT&T and Comcast have made it easier to hand out information about your wireless network there's no reason why you're forced to keep the information they set up originally.

First of all the information they give you is generally printed on a sticker on your router which means that should anyone get into your home they can just turn over the router and get the information to break into your network. Not a good idea. So you actually should change the name of your network and the password. To do that it generally involves logging into your device from a browser on your computer and then manually changing the settings. If you're uncomfortable doing that you can ask a more tech savvy friend, but it's a very simple thing to do using the information printed on the router itself. 

So you have two things you actually need to change. You need to change the password to get into your router and then you need to change your wireless network name and password to something you can remember, and that a criminal who happened to break in your home or one to use your wireless network wouldn't happen to know. It's simple to do but it does require a few steps. You can always ask your wireless internet provider for information on how to do that as well.

1931. Email service help.

I've heard you mention services that look at your email, and help with various mail services, like removing you automatically from email lists. This makes me nervous. Is it safe?

Over the years I've signed up for a lot of services that were free that promise to go through my mail and make decisions for me or help me with various tasks. One of them is Trip It, which will keep track of reservations I've made I'm airlines or at hotels so I can go to one place to see them all. Another one was which would attempt unroll me from various mailing lists. Both of those services ask you to provide your mail credentials that allows them to log into your mail service. And they then use those credentials to walk through your mail and do stuff for you. At one point I thought, oh who cares, I don't mind. I'll let them look. But over the years it's become more and more difficult to allow them to do that. Basically if you're getting a service for free you're paying for it somewhere else. They're using your data for one reason or another. A big problem came when was actually found to be using data it retrieved from email accounts to do stuff with. In other words at this point I would definitely say do not sign up for any free service that requires access to your mailbox. Sooner or later your mail will be used for purposes you did not intend. Yes, it's great to have someone else be able to peruse your mail and let you know when a package is going to arrive, or sign you up or remove you actually from email lists but it's not worth the risk. Just don't do it.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

1917. Clear the Recent Documents List in Microsoft Word

I use Microsoft Word on my office Windows computer, and when I start it, it lists all the recent documents that everyone has edited. Is there some way to clear this list, so it’s less confusing? Even better, is there some way to turn it off completely?

We want to ask what you're doing so that you don't want your coworkers to see what document you've been working on?Maybe you're preparing that new resume?

Luckily Microsoft Word makes it easy to clear the whole list, remove a particular document from the recent list, or turn the feature off altogether to clear the list. Once you've started word find a list of recent files that appears on the left side of the first screen, right click on any document, and select clear unpinned documents, click yes to confirm. Word removes the list of recently opened documents.

To clear a single item from the list, right click that item and select remove from list to remove it from the recent list.

To turn off the recent file list completely you'll need to select file and then options in the Word Options dialog, select the Advanced tab, and then the display section, set the show the number of recent documents option to zero and click OK.

That does it no recent documents will show. There is one more place you'll need to fix in Windows 10, right clicking the Microsoft Word icon on the Taskbar displays a list of recent documents. To fix this problem in Windows, select start then settings, then Personalization, click start on the left hand menu, and then click "Show recently opened items in jump list on start or the task bar" and turn that feature off. In any case it takes a few steps to turn off the recent list but you can do it if you want.

1918. Password Protect PDF files

I find that I need to send financial PDF files via email, and I’m worried about who can view these files. Is there some way to password protect a PDF file before I email it? I could send the recipient the password separately, if necessary. I’d prefer to do all this for free, if possible. Can you help?

This need made be new to you but the need to password protect PDF files is as old as well PDF files because the PDF file format is generally read only and because just about every human with a computer can load and display a PDF file.

It's really the perfect means for transmitting information that can't be edited. Transmitting PDF files via e-mail has almost but not quite superseded the ancient ritual of faxing documents. The main difference is that faxing is generally considered more secure because it's a point to point protocol and never uses the Internet. The only security flaw with a fax is that you don't know who will see the printed page on the receiving side.

With a PDF file it's all too easy to print, forward, or otherwise share confidential information. To avoid security issues with PDF files then you can apply a password to the document so it can't be viewed without knowledge of the corresponding password. You can set one or more passwords for viewing, extracting pages, and printing the document.

Along with other activities most people that password protect PDF files do it using the Adobe Acrobat application but this application is far from free. If you do own Adobe Acrobat which is different from the Adobe Acrobat Reader which is free, but doesn't support password applied to documents without paying for it. You can use Adobe Acrobat to add password protection.

On the other hand if you want a free solution check out this website This site is free although it will cost by barraging you with reminders that you should give them money for their services. You can use it for free but be warned that you'll feel guilty about it. That's

Also know that their size and daily use limitations for free services but for a one off protection of a normal sized PDF you should be fine. The site is self-explanatory, follow directions to, Upload a file and password protected you can upload a file from your computer or use a file from Google Drive or Dropbox. It's really pretty simple. There are some advanced options as well if you want to investigate.

Now once you've password protected the file and you've mailed it you don't want to put the password in the same email as the file because that kind of spoils the point of password protecting it. In that case you want to call the person with the password or send it in a separate e-mail so at least if someone gets the document they didn't also get the password. Check out for more information.

1919. Send Faxes online

As much as I find it difficult to believe, I was recently forced to send a fax in order to complete a business transaction. I don’t have a fax machine. I haven’t had a fax machine since, well, I can’t remember when. I ended up taking the pages to be faxed to an office supply store, and having them fax it for me for an outrageous price per page. Is there some way I could have done this transaction online?

Well let's jump in that time machine back to one thousand nine hundred ninety five faxing seemed modern at first now it just seems quaint On the other hand faxes are still used in banking real estate and medical firms but at least the practice is fading it can be more secure than the Internet because you are going through the Internet it's just a point to point protocol but the problem is who sees it at the other end who's looking at your private fax. We don't do business with folks that require faxing if at all possible because it's a pain. But sometimes you just can't avoid it.

There used to be in the heyday of the Internet, tons of online fax services that were free. Now there's almost none at least none that are reputable. You'll find online fax services but don't use them. The only good one we know of that's free is called

The free service is limited to three pages plus a cover sheet and up to five faxes per day. You won't be sending out those junk faxes using Faxzero but if you need to send back a medical form or real estate form it's a great way to do it. That limitation should cover most people with intermittent needs. You can pay more if you need more and if you don't pay be prepared to be nagged to pay, but to use Faxzero you will need an electronic copy of your document. You can have a Word document a PDF file or a bunch of other formats they accept. If you have your document on paper you'll need to scan it first into a PDF file. For example once you have that you just upload to their service and they'll fax it for you.

Now if you just have your phone you can still just take a photo of the document and in most cases you can just fax that photo. In any case check out You will certainly be asked you to pay them but you can get by by using it for free.

1920. Renaming Printers in Windows

In my office, we have several printers from the same manufacturer. It’s really hard to remember which one is which when sending a document to one of the printers. Is there some way to distinguish between these printers?

When you add a printer to Windows it gets assigned a name and that name is displayed in the list of printing devices.

Window makes up that name based on the manufacturer in the product name but you can change that name and you probably should if you have multiple similar printers. It can get confusing to view that list because they all look pretty much the same.

Would it be better to list the printer names and their locations perhaps like HP750 in Doug's office? That way you'd know which one was which. In Windows 10 bring up the Settings app, then devices and then printers and scanners. Find the printer you want to rename and then select manage. Select the printer properties and on the General tab you just change the name of the printer and save it.

In Windows 7 or 8 it's a little different. There you open Control Panel, select Devices and Printers and then find the printer, right click on it, choose printer properties, and then change the printer name and save your changes.

You can repeat that for any other device you want to rename as well. The name of the device is something that you can control to make it easier for you to determine which one you're looking at in the windows lists of devices.

1921. Copy and Paste Between Mac and iPad

I sometimes need to move data between my Mac and my iPad. All I really want to do is copy text to the Clipboard on my Mac and then paste it into a document on the iPad. Is there some easy way to do this?

There are lots of ways to transfer data from a Mac to an iPad and you could even email the data to yourself. That is slow and feels very 2005. As long as you have moderately recent Mac an iPad hardware from the last four years or so you should be able to take advantage of Apple's Universal clipboard. This allows you to copy data from one device and paste to another and it works on the Mac iPad or iPhone as long as they're in the same network and are set up correctly.

Now this feature requires you to be logged in the iCloud so you have to know your Apple ID and your password and I say this to everyone I know who has Apple devices, you have to know your Apple ID and your Apple password or you really can't use the devices. You need to know these and you should know them before there's an emergency.

So if you haven't set them up do it now. In any case given that information you can use Apple's continuity features. It just requires the devices to be logged into the same iCloud account and on the same wireless network. For information on how to set it up go to the Internet and search online for "set up Apple continuity features" and you should find explicit set of directions which are very complicated.

Once you do that you can copy information on one device and pasted onto another which makes it really useful for things like looking up passwords on your computer and then on your phone pasting them into a website. Search for Apple continuity features and you'll find all the information you need.

1922. Find a Lost iPhone

When my iPhone fell into the cushions of my sofa, I spent hours trying to find it. I tried calling it, but the ringer was off (of course). That didn’t help. Is there some mechanism for locating the phone even if the ringer is off?

We get asked this one a lot because I guess a lot of people lose their phones in the sofa. There is one requirement to solving the problem you have to know your Apple ID and password. If you don't know those figure it out now before there's a crisis.

To confirm you've got the information right go to and attempt to log in if you can you're all set. Then on the phone go to the Settings, click at the top where you see your name then choose iCloud and tap Find My iPhone. Turn on the Find My iPhone setting and with this enabled you'll be able to locate a lost phone.

Then on every I.O.S device you own for example another iPhone or a tablet. You should download the find iPhone app.

Given this any I O. S. device can locate any other I O. S. device that signed into the same iCloud account. You can also use the services that to locate your devices

Finally to answer the question the find iPhone app or the same functionality and can play a sound on your phone or tablets even if the ringer or the volume is turned down. That way you can find your phone buried in the sofa cushions. You can also erase the device if it's actually lost somewhere and you don't want people to see the data.

Probably overkill for a phone lost in the sofa but if you have sensitive data on your phone and you lose it, the ability to be able to erase it remotely is very useful and it's only available using the Find My iPhone feature.

1923. Hidden SSID

I live in an area thatI can see a number of differnet WI-FI SSID names available.I am concerned that people are using my WI-FI signal even though they don't know my password. Is there some way to help protect me from this?

Yes. short answer Hidden SSID. Almost all Wi-Fi routers provide the ability to "hide" the SSID which is the technical name for the network name. It stands for the Service Set IDentifier.

Now there is an argument that hiding the SSID is not adding any security. Because there are utilities available that can find hidden SSID's. Well I will argue that if if it is hidden 99% of the people will not try to find it. The 1% will. I will say 99% is better.

So when you are setting up your network name chose to HIDE it. Also add a secure password. Now when you initially want to connect to the SSID you must Manually type the name (yes it is case sensitive.). On a PC click add network name and type it in. On an iPhone chose "other" and type it in. On a Mac "join another Network". and an Android Add WIFI, then the name.

You will likely also need to specify the type of password security which is normally WPA2. This is identified when you enter the name and password to your router. Of course if you are like Ken and use your CAT's name for a password, don't also use the CAT's name for the hidden SSID. Actually Ken has very long and secure passwords.

I am paranoid about security so consider adding another layer to your WIFI network. Something else to consider. Use a Guest level WIFI access so your guests can connect but can only access the internet. Your regular (non-guest) WIFI network access can allow you to access any other devices on the network.

1924. Specific browser for a URL

I need to use IE to log into 2 specific URL's and then Chrome for all others. Is there a specific way I can make this happen?

No, there is no practical way to do that. Windows has a list of “handlers” which tell it what to do (eg what program to run) when different types of files and system objects are activated (eg opened).

The list is limited to types which for the most part just includes extensions (eg .EXE, .DOC, .URL, etc.) There is no way to specify handlers for specific filenames since the list would eventually grow ridiculously large and provide extremely poor performance. Worse, there is definitely no way to specify handlers based on the contents of a file since that would require Windows to (1) open the file, and (2) know how to read and interpret the contents.

The easy way to help you deal with specific URL's is to create a shortcut for one URL that opens IE to access one bank and another shortcut to use Chrome to access another. But this will not work with links in an email. It will only work for pre-know URLs.

If you have always wanted an excuse to send more money to Steve Jobs, you might want to buy a MAC if you have a great need for this type of option. There are "pay for" applications for a MAC that when you open a link it will give you a list of what browser you want to use. However I understand this type of application requires you to specify a browser for each link you open.

I think the shortcut is a good solution.

1925. Email read receipt

I don't ever acknolege a read receipt request for emails I receive. But a friend said they sent me an email with read receipt and it was acknowledged. How could this happen?

Well this happened to me and I was not happy. I use Outlook and whenever I get a pop-up saying the sender requested a read receipt I respond "NO". Usually it is someone phishing to see it the email address is active and wants to sell me something or making sure I received the email about the party this weekend.

When this happens I never acknowledge receipt or read. As it turns out the email that was sent I opened on my iPhone. There is a setting in iPhone Settings, Messages, Read Receipt that was turned on. I immediately turned it off. I was surprised that this option would default to on, but it does.

So my advice is to turn this setting OFF.

I also investigated how different email services, as well as different email applications handle Receipt and READ requests. They all have different options and abilities. So my suggestions is to investigate your email system and device to make sure receipt and read requests are turned OFF. Also if you send an email requesting a receipt or read acknowledgement don't depend on a response to know it your email was actually received or read.

1926. Font size control

I use Outlook and I have trouble with reading the emails because of the font. How can I control not only the font sizes I create but when I receive an email with small font to easily make it bigger?

In earlier versions of Windows the font size of emails was not controlled in Outlook. Now you can. Depending on which version of Outlook, go to the Options section, then Mail, Stationary and Fonts.

You can set the font and size for new email, and Reply's and Forwards. You can also set the size for composing and replying to text messages.

The really good news if you have a mouse with a wheel option, is you can easily control the font size of the incoming email. This is a great feature as over time everything seems to be getting smaller. When you open the email simply click your mouse in the email, and spin the wheel up or down to change the size of the font. It does not save this information so you have to do it for each email,

1927. Contrast

My eyes are having dificulty in seeing various shades of font especially in a web site. How can I make this text easy to read.

What I suggest in Windows 10 is to go to Settings, Ease of Access.

This section provides Display options, Cursor and pointer size (especially good when you hover over different color areas, Yes when you hover the mouse over a white area it will turn black, a black area white. What a great concept. Magnifier, Color Filters and Narrator.

But the section I found most helpful is the High Contrast section. You can use a High Contrast theme that has already been set up. These include a High White and black themes as well as others. You can also take a theme and customize it with your own changes and save it.

So if you have problems with certain colors you can change parameters that will give you the best visual presentation. Some negatives can occur when you select these themes. Some applications simply do not display as expected. You may need to work with the settings but it definitely has helped my screen usage. There are many options in this section. Take the time to look it over.

1928. Search engine hijack

I open my browser and without me doing anything my search engine gets changed and sometimes my default page changes. How can I stop them from hijacking my search engine.

The solution sadly is not to stop it from happening but how to fix it afterwards. The cause was you visiting a web site that probably offered some free download of something or making it easier to do something. In the really fine print was something saying to help your finding things it will change your search engine. But of course you never read the fine print.

So to fix things it will depend on the browser you use. Chrome, IE, Firefox Safari. So manually go to your favorite search engine, and search for Browser default URL, Browser default search engine. This will tell you how to change things back.

You also should search for Browser Add-in or Extension removal. Add-ins extensions are things added to your browser to make your visit to some web site experience better. But often it causes problems in performance. Remember to be very careful to not allow things to modify your system without knowing you really want/need.

Another reason to image backup your system. Viruses aren't the only things that can cause serious problems. Backup, backup, backup!!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

1909. Get postal mail information.

My mailbox is down the road from my house, and some days, I just don’t feel like going out to check the mail. It would be so cool if there was some way to receive an email that would notify me of what’s in my mailbox, so I wouldn’t have to trek down there if there wasn’t mail to pick up. Am I just dreaming?

We both have long walks to a mailbox as well it's just too much work to trudge down to the mailbox to find nothing there. Although a little more exercise probably wouldn't hurt either of us.

Luckily the U.S. Postal Service makes this easy. They have a new service named "informed delivery" which you can find .

Once you set it up and it's free you get an email every day with a photo of what's going to appear in your mailbox. The U.S. Postal Service doesn't open your mail it just photos the outside as it marks it for delivery. The package list is also available and it includes tracking information. Informed delivery isn't available for everyone or everywhere but it certainly works great for me personally and I would recommend it highly I get in the mail every morning with information about what's going to appear in my mailbox. So I know whether or not I should make the trek

1905. Convert Phone audio to stereo

Over the years, I’ve subscribed to a number of email lists that I’d prefer to no longer hear from. I get far too much political and sales emails. I know I could unsubscribe from each manually, but is there some tool I can use to take care of this for me?

This question hits close to home because I am also in the nearly one hundred percent deaf in one ear because of a sudden hearing loss in my forties.

So I feel your pain on this. Listening to stereo audio and headphones is a pain because some dialogue is in the wrong ear and you can't hear it. All modern smartphones include an option to combine both stereo channels into a single channel sending the same information to both ears. To find this look for your devices accessibility settings. Look at the option there to convert audio to mono.

On I O. S. select settings, then general, then accessibility, then turn on Mono audio. That's all you have to do.

I tried it on an Android phone and there was a similar setting under accessibility. If you need to use it with just one earpiece or you want both your pieces to play the same audio This trick is for you.

1910. Facebook privacy issues

Retrieve Facebook Data

I’ve heard a lot about Facebook and its use (or misuse) of my personal data. I’m a little uncomfortable posting anything, liking anything, or even responding to anything there, because of this data use. What do you recommend we do to safeguard our information?
Clearly, Doug and Ken are not Facebook fans. It’s possible/probable that we’re too old to really “get” social media, but we try. We really do. And Ken even bought into it for a while and posted a lot of personal stuff on Facebook. He “liked” a lot of things, posted personal information, enjoyed getting birthday greetings on the special day, posted notices about important life events, and more. But no longer.
As it has become clear that the folks at Facebook have no idea how to control the data that we post online, it’s also clear to us that Facebook is not a good place to post personal information. For example, if some nefarious character was looking for information about you, that person might start by looking at Facebook to retrieve your birthdate; given that information, the crook could start digging into other online records to find important personal information that identifies you.
So what do we suggest? Well, perhaps we’re a bit too paranoid, but we’d start by deleting all personal information, such as your birthday, school, work, and marital status. (And yes, we’ve done this.) Although this action doesn’t help with prior data scraping from Facebook, it makes it impossible for future information gathering to happen.
To get start, in a Web browser, head to, and click the little triangle in upper-right corner of the Facebook page. Select Settings. Look for your personal settings to remove all the personal info. In addition, in the Apps settings, turn off all Websites, Apps, and Games (and don't use them). Yes, we know that farm game was fun, but is it worth distributing even a tiny bit of information to those folks bent on stealing information about you from Facebook?
In the Security and Login section, make sure all information is available only to you, or to friends.
Finally, although it won’t help with data breaches, it’s useful to know what Facebook “knows” about you. Under the General settings, select Download a Copy of your Facebook data. You'll get two emails: One to confirm that Facebook is preparing your data, and another to let you know when the download is ready. In the second email, click the link to download your data. In the downloaded data, click on the index.html file to load it in a browser--this shows what Facebook knows about you. This information includes anything you’ve posted online, any photos you have uploaded, and more. If you uploaded a lot of data, the download can be quite large, so be prepared to wait. You may be surprised at how much Facebook has on you.
If you love Facebook, feel free to stay involved. But please, take a moment and clean up your security settings and remove any non-essential information. Do it before the next big data breach.

1908. Disk storage full - Windows? Delete System32 Folder?

Delete System32 Folder?

My computer’s storage is getting nearly full, and I thought I would clear some space by removing stuff I don’t need. I ran across a very large folder named System32—it’s just chock full of stuff that I didn’t put there. Can I remove it to regain the space it’s consuming?
Should you delete the System32 folder in Windows? Here are two simple answers: a) You shouldn’t, and b) You can’t. The System32 folder contains a ton of internal files and programs that Windows needs in order to operate. If you try to delete it, or its contents, you'll get warnings and errors indicating that you can't delete the files. If you are persistent and override the security settings of the files so you can delete them, you'll watch Windows slowly die as files get deleted. (Think of the scene in the movie 2001 where the computer, HAL, has his memory wiped as he sings "Daisy, Daisy." It's the same thing, really.)
If you really need to clean up some hard drive space, look for videos or large downloads—those are the files that take up a lot of space. Large backups can consume a lot of hard drive space, as well. Remember that storage space is different from the amount of memory in your computer, and the amount of consumed memory. Running a lot of programs concurrently consumes your RAM (Random Access Memory) but this has nothing to do with your amount of disk-based storage.
We've mentioned it before but look for the application named WinDirStat on the Web. It's free, and immensely useful for determining what's taking up your hard drive space. You can find it online at, and you should check it out if you need to clean up your disk storage.
In any case, don't even think about deleting the System32 folder. Yes, it’s a large folder, but deleting it won't help, and it won't work.

1907. Expand Shortened Links

You recently ran a tip describing how to hover over a link in email or on a Web site to determine where that link will actually go, and that was a really useful tip. Sometimes, however, I get links that are compressed, or shortened or something. I get links from or—clearly, these are obfuscating the destination URL. How can I preview where these links will take me without actually going there? I want to ensure the links are safe before clicking.
You are so correct: You should never click a link you don’t trust, and you should never, ever click a shortened link (like the ones you mentioned, and there are many others: and are the ones we see most often, along with For these shortened links, unless you’re really sure you’re getting the link from someone you know you can trust, you should preview the link.
What is a shortened URL, anyway? Rather than including long URLs in article, emails, and Web sites; it’s far simpler to replace the URL with a shortened, or compressed, version. You can find many online services that take a URL, store away its value, and provide you with a short version. These services maintain a reference to the original URL, allowing you to use the shortened version in its place. For example, here’s a URL to an item on, no one can type that URL to find the item to which we’re referring.On the other hand, the shortened version might look like this: Go ahead, look it up: We’re sure you’ll be jumping all over the opportunity to purchase this useful item.
So how do you preview the URL without actually going to the page? Like in so many other places, the “devil is in the details.” Each different URL-shortening service provides a means of doing this, but each one is different. One thing is for sure, however: As we said, unless you trust the source of the shortened URL, do not click it. Instead, copy it (or type it from scratch into the URL bar on a browser). Don’t press Enter, however. Each URL-shortening provider allows you to type something at the end of the URL to preview it. For example, adding a “+” after the URL takes you to a description page (that is, type for our previous example). works the same way. For, add the word preview in front of the URL.
For more information on previewing shortened URLs, check out this page: You’ll find everything you need to know about the topic there.

1906. Easily Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists

Over the years, I’ve subscribed to a number of email lists that I’d prefer to no longer hear from. I get far too much political and sales emails. I know I could unsubscribe from each manually, but is there some tool I can use to take care of this for me?
We certainly understand your frustration here. During the 2016 election cycle, Ken signed up for a bajillion email newsletters to keep track of everything, and at this point, would prefer to hear nothing at all about anything. He found a useful tool to clean out his inbox, and has given it a try. It works!
First of all, understand that you never want to click an Unsubscribe link in spam emails: Doing so just alerts the sender that there’s a human at the receiving end of the email. For spam, you’re better off using spam filtering in your email client to rid your inbox of the messages.
On the other hand, for legitimate emails that you’d just prefer to no longer receive, you can and should click the Unsubscribe link to remove yourself from the distribution list. If you have just a few, you can do this manually. If you’ve gone overboard, however, you may need some help automating this.
We’ve run across several “unsubscribe” services over the years, but a new one, available for free at, works the best of any we’ve seen with the least intrusion into your life.
Once you sign up at, you grant the site access to your email inbox; it creates a new folder named Unsubscribe. For any email list you’d like to unsubscribe from, drag an email to the Unsubscribe folder, and the service takes care of the rest. That’s it. You can re-subscribe if you want, but in general, the service removes you from the email list.
Unsubscriber works with pretty much any of the most popular email providers (Gmail, Outlook, Office365, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo), but there’s a down side, and it’s a big one: You have to give the service access to your email inbox. If you’re not comfortable with that, you won’t want to use the service. On the other hand, they promise (really) that they won’t look at any folder except the Unsubscribe folder. This is a tough decision, but one you’ll need to make. Ken bought into it, and believes that the service is honest.
If you find that you need help managing all your email newsletters, give Unsubscriber a try by visiting It definitely does what it sets out to do: You just need to determine if the service is worth the trust you must grant it.

1914. Wireless printer goes offline

My wireless printer seems to go offline offen and I can't connect.  I have to re-install it.  What can I do?

The most common reason your wireless printer stops working is the result of the use of Dynamic IP addresses.

Lots of Blah, blah, balh words. But these are important.

When you get your wireless printer, the setup is usually fast and easy. This is because the printer setup system uses dynamic IP addressing. Each device on your internal network needs an address to be able to talk to the world. Your internal network has it's own set of private addresses that are differnent from the outside (internet) world.

That little black box your ISP gave you (modem, router) translates your internal and external addresses . Thank goodness. Dynamic address expire after a number of days and the black box gives out a new address (usually the same as the previous one). This is where the problem occurs.

Sometime (not often) this IP address may change and can cause the printer to no longer work. The best way to stop the problem is to give the printer a FIXED IP address. This process is different on all printers so you need to find the instructions for your printer. The other wrinkle is using an IP address that is not used by any other device on your network. Also not a hard task but is necessary.

You need to access your black box gizmo from your ISP to find the available fixed IP addresses. If you are not having the lost printer problem while using a wireless printer then nothing needs to be done.

But if you are taking the time to set up a fixed wireless IP address for your printer will take only 5+ minutes and is well worth the energy.

1911. After 1709 upgrade program start after boot.

I upgraded my Windows 10 computer to the 1709 Creators update. Now programs keep starting up when I start Winwods for no reason. Not in my startup folder.

After your computer does an upgarde to the Fall Creators update 1709 some programs that you do not have identified to automatically start suddenly are starting automatically after you reboot.

You can look at the Startup tasks by opening the Task Manager (right click on the task bar and select Task Manager). Select More Details, and then the Startup tab.

Here you will see the list of programs that Windows starts for you automatically. But those programs you are having issues with starting aren't listed. Well it turns out the 1709 update tries to help you out by restarting programs that you left running when the computer shuts down. Nice feature if that is what you want. Not so much if you don't. So what to do.

Well currently there does not seem to be the ability to automatically not restart these programs you have left running. You can however set up a special Shutdown command. First try this. Open a Command window. Remember that old DOS window. Then type shutdown -t 0 -s and hit enter. This will shutdown all the applications before shuting down the computer. When you restart only the desired applications will reopen. If this is how you want things to work, set up this shutdown command as a shortcut and use it when you want to shutdown. This of course will not resolve things when the computer shuts down without your desire. But it is likely when this happens you do want the programs to restart.

Hopefully they will add an option to resolve this new "feature". We will let you know.

1912. Hidden WIFI SSID's

I have heard about Hidden WIFI networks. Why and how/what should I do about them?

Hidden WIFI Names are simply that. WIFI names that will not appear in your list but in fact are available if you know the exact name and password.

First you might ask why? Well it is primarily availalble for security. Let's talk about your WIFI network at home. You see your SSID (Service SET IDentifier = Name of the WIFI) and so does everyone else within range. If they know something about you they may be able to guess your password. And please tell me you have a good password. Like the dogs name you yell outside your door so everyone can hear.

Well if you create the WIFI SSID name as Hidden then no one including yourself can even try to access your WIFI without knowing the exact name. You can because you didn't name it after your CAT.

All you do to access it is choose Other Name/Hidden name on your device and you will enter the WIFI name and then your password. Hopefully they won't guess both. The way you initially specify the Hidden SSID name is different on your WIFI devices.

To specify the hidden SSID on your do a search for hidden SSID and your device name. You only have to do this once, so it is not painful. It will also give you better security, and it will stop those strange cars parked outside your house from using your WIFI internet access and are watching their favorite Netflix movies or gosh knows what.

This is especially important if you are paying for usage. If you use your smartphone as a hotspot this is especially important. However at the time of this writing the iPhone does not offer hiding the hotspot SSID. Some Andoid devices allow this, some do not. I suggest hiding your SSID on all of your WIFI AP's. ALSO USE A complex password.

If the hiding the SSID is a problem when you have guests, you can set up a "Guest" SSID that will limit users that use this AP to only being able to access the internet. They cannot access any device on your network. This is a good idea regardless of using hidden SSID's. OK I have said SSID too many times.

1913. What are Service Providers?

Some ask about who should use as their ISP, ESP, WSP, all of those SP's. What are SP's and why?

Well we need to start at the beginning. The SP portion stands for Service Provider.

The first letter is the type of service. Depending on where you are and what device you are using gives clarity to the exact type and name of service. Let's start with "I" the "I" is for Internet. If you are at home using your computer with your ATT, Comcast, Greater Broadband then your ISP Internet Service Provider is that service ATT or Comcast.

If you are using your cell phone without WIFI then your ISP is your cell phone carrier.

The other "SP's" like "E" is for Email (SBCGlobal, yahoo, gmail, Office 365), "W" is for WEB who is hosting your private web site.

If you don't have your own private domain name like you normally don't care about those WSP's. If you do have your own domain then you have it registered somewhere like NetworkSolutions, Godaddy, TuCows (yes TuCows), Bluehost and others.

But you don't need to use the same place the domain name is registered to host your email or web services. Techtipguys recommend using either Office365 or Google Busines email to host your email. For Web there are many.

If you use any free email services we recommend or We strongly recommend not using your ISP's email address like It is not their business and it is just not secure.

So SP's are important. Remember to be sure you know which one you are using and for what purpose.